Direct sale to get rid of middlemen menace

Nagaraj, a farmer from Narayanapura near Devanahalli, starts his day as early as 4 in the morning.

For, he has to rush his produce to Yelahanka where a designated market known as ‘Raithara Santhe’ (farmers’ market) will help him sell vegetables directly to consumers.

Three hours later, he is rushing back home happy that the heap of beans, snake gourd and chillies, harvested freshly from his one-acre plot, have been sold for a good profit. Both the seller and the consumer are happy because there are no middlemen to spoil the trade.

There are many like Nagaraj who bring their produce to the Santhe, which is free from the middlemen menace. The produce is sold directly to customers. Incidentally, this is the only place run by the government where farmers benefit directly from the market.

Established in July 2002, the Santhe is the only place where vegetables are sold at the price fixed by the Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee. It has become a big hit among the people since it is beneficial to all. The market, which starts at around 5 am, records at least 80 per cent sales before 11 am.

It draws customers, including household users, retailers and hoteliers from various parts of the City. Residents of Yelahanka New Town, Old Town, Karnataka Housing Board Colony, Hebbal, and others places numbering more than 5,000 visit it daily.

“We come here because we get fresh vegetables. But the added benefit is we get them at cheaper rates compared with other markets,” says Indrani, a resident of Judicial Colony, who comes here once a week.

Priscilla, a homemaker, who had come to the Santhe in the afternoon to buy vegetables, says, “It’s a mistake to come here this late, because vegetables aren’t so fresh around this time.” She says there is a difference of about 10 per cent in prices at the Santhe compared with other places.

Inaugurated by former chief minister S M Krishna, the market ensures it is only farmers who come here to sell their produce. Any farmer who wants to sell his produce should register himself and obtain an identity card.

The ID card conta­ins the name of the village the farmer belongs to, his/her picture, and of the family members, if any. This is to ensure only farmers get to sell their produce here.

The authorities also check the produce brought by farmers, provide them weighing machines and cartons, and allocate shops to them after verifying their ID cards. They also fix the prices of vegetables every day based on the prices at the Hopcoms and other markets, which is readily acceptable to farmers.

“We get vegetables at reasonable prices here. If we go to KR Market or other places, for every Rs 100 we earn, Rs 10 goes as commission to middlemen. We are happy to come here,” says Muniraju, a farmer from Kolipura.

Hunjamma, a small-time farmer who grows mint, methi and coriander in her three-gunta plot, gets the same preference as any farmer who brings truckloads of cabbage, carrot or pumpkins. The Santhe, however, has brought with it problems such as shortage of shops and weighing machines. Customers also complain of lack of parking space and ‘harassment’ by traffic police.

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